Interviews > Alestorm
Interview by Athena Schaffer

Alestorm once again bring us mayhem on the Seven Seas with their latest release, Back Through Time (Napalm Records). The band has churned up their own distinct meld of Metal and Folk with some Sea Salt thrown in for good measure which they call “Pirate Metal”. Full of swagger and drunken as a keg of ale, this album is a dose of pure fun.

Check out the video for the song “Shipwrecked”.

Anchored on Scotland’s Eastern shore, the band consists of two Scots and 2 Irishmen: Christopher Bowes (vocals, keyboards), Dani Evans (lead & rhythm guitar), Gareth Murdock (bass), and Peter Alcorn (drums).

This pirate crew is currently plundering and pillaging North American soil on tour supporting Kamelot (although Alestorm will be headlining select shows where Kamelot will not be appearing). Also on the bill are Blackguard and The Agonist.

The Crowgrrl recently caught up with frontman Chris to find out more.

What can we expect from this upcoming U.S. tour? What is your live show like?

Retardation on an industrial scale! You bring the alcohol, we'll bring the party.

Do you use the Pirate costumes and props onstage?

Hell no, we're a band, not a bunch of children's entertainers! We prefer to dress up as badass metal dudes. And rock out.

Is your set list mainly from Back Through Time or a mix from your previous album?

Since we don't get a chance to tour North America very often, we don't wanna bore the audience with a self-indulgent set of songs they don't know. So we'll stick all the old favourites in there, like "Wenches and Mead" and all that, along with the very best of the songs from the new album.

You’re headlining some of the shows?

Aye, there's a few off dates on the tour that Kamelot aren't playing. Should be some nice small intimate gigs, plus it's an opportunity to play some songs we wouldn't get a chance to with the shorter support slot shows.

What kinds of merch are you bringing with you this time?

Just the usual t-shirts and hoodies. It's all new designs that we came up with ourselves, with the help of some fantastic artist guy from Indonesia. Lots of crazy bright colours and silly slogans.

What do you do on your “down-time” on the road? Do you bring movies or videogames? If so, which ones?

I think on my downtime, I'm gonna be eating my way through every item on the menu at Denny's. And a bit of general tourism, y'know. The USA is a badass place to simply quest around in.

You’ve been touring extensively this year, haven’t you?

Aye, we've just done a run in Australia and New Zealand, as well as all the summer festivals in Europe. It's been great fun, and I can't wait to do it all again!

Have you been filming any shows for a possible DVD in the future?

I think we're gonna save the filming until next year maybe, when we can afford the budget to have flamethrowers and naked pirate babes on stage. But a DVD is definitely something we're thinking about doing.

What’s next after the U.S. tour?

Straight onto the Heidenfest Tour in Europe, with Finntroll and Turisas and a bunch of other silly folk metal fans. We're gonna be dead or in jail by the end of this year.

How did you guys come to embrace the Pirate theme for your music?

It was all a terrible accident and it has got out of hand. First you write one song about pirates, then another, and then before you know it you're a pirate metal band.

Who does most of the songwriting for the band?

Me! The rest of the guys are lazy bastards so I have to do it all myself.

Do the lyrics come first? Does the music come first? What is the songwriting process like for you?

Usually music first. Songwriting involves sitting at a laptop and hacking away at GuitarPro until something resembling a song comes out. It's not really much of a magical experience.

“Death Throes of the Terrorsquid” is a fantastic, intense song! Tell us more about the inspiration for that one.

I wrote that song when I was 14 years old. I was going through my secret vault of old songs, and I thought "fuck, this would sound cool if we gave it a huge modern production", and it turns out it was great. Lyrically it's "Leviathan part 2", in which our intrepid piratical heroes finally defeat the sea monster from the depths. Silly stuff of the highest order.

“Rumplekombo” is a strange little ditty. Can you tell us more about it?

We once toured with the German band Grave Digger, and they hated us because we were a bunch of crazy drunkards. In an interview after the tour, the singer referred to us as a "rumpelkombo", which basically translates to "rowdy bunch of retards". We thought it was a good name for a song, so we wrote it in dedication to him.

The stormy “Back Through Time” title track is a berserker of a song. Tell us more about this epic battle.

I'm getting really fed up with all these folk metal fans who actually think that they are Vikings, and who actually believe in all that stupid Norse pagan mythology stuff. So I wrote a song about how Vikings are all pussies, and how a bunch of pirates go back in time and kill them all. I love offending our fanbase. It's great fun!

“Midget Saw” is a fun track – what were your inspirations behind that one?

It's about chopping off a midget's legs, because he kicked a monkey that had eaten some treasure. It's PETA's new theme tune. Really deep stuff.

What’s your personal favorite song on the new album?

I love "Swashbuckled", it's a nice wee song about our fellow pirate metallers Swashbuckle all dying in terrible ways. We have a wonderful love-hate relationship with them. Everyone thinks there's this massive rivalry between the two bands, so we just pretend that there is. Marketing madness.

Any stories behind the cover art?

There's a rat on a snowboard. I think more albums should feature snowboarding rats.

“Shipwrecked” is a fun video. Any stories behind the Making Of?

We went to Serbia and got drunk. The next day we woke up in a greenscreen studio surrounded by Eastern European pornstars and a midget, so we thought "fuckit" and made this ridiculous video. I can't wait to do another one, with even more stupidity in it.

How Hands-On are you with your Website and Myspace pages?

Haha, Myspace is so 2008. But yeah, we run our website and Facebook pages 100% by ourselves. Our label wanted to "help out", but we told them no thanks. I think it's kinda cheating the fans when they expect that they're talking to the band online, and it turns out it's just some media hack they've employed to pretend to be them.

Is there anything that I didn’t ask that you want to tell our readers?

Eat Scottish beef.